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Sunday, 4 March 2018

LBH February Favourites: Batch Cooking with the Instant Pot, Takenaka Bento Box, NYX Stockholm Palette

With a full time job and a painfully long commute, organizing my free time is more important than ever.  Monsieur bought an Instant Pot a few months back and it languished in a corner of the dining room for weeks while we debated whether or not we had morphed into one of those people endlessly raving about the advantages of a slow cooker.

BUT...this is not your grandma's slow cooker.  Oh no!  It's a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute, steamer, and warmer.  It even bakes cakes and boils eggs.  Batch cooking is a lifesaver if you are keen on menu planning and are pressed for time.  We've cooked a whole chicken in it and it was the tenderest juiciest chicken  we'd ever had.  Do you have an Instant Pot?  Suggestions on what to cook in it are welcome!
In days of yore, I used to buy my lunches.  Huge, heavy lunches caused my waistline to steadily creep outward, made me sleepy and was unkind to my wallet.  Now I am determined to bring packed lunches  to work.  I'm obsessed with my bento box.

I really didn't want a bento box that was covered in pictures of Hello Kitty (although I love Hello Kitty) and this white one from Takenaka fits the bill to a minimalist "T".  It has two tiers and the lid clips everything together.

It even comes with a fork.  Packing a healthy lunch is a breeze and opening up my bento box at lunchtime is like opening a present to myself every day.
Last but not least is the NYX Stockholm palette.  I have mentioned this in a previous post but it really has become a firm favourite of mine.   NYX brought out a range of palettes named after various cities around the world and the Stockholm palette caught my eye immediately.

The warm toned colours really suit my skin.  I don't experience any fallout and they are longlasting.  The palette even comes with a matte lip cream.  The lip cream has a doe foot applicator.  There is a strong vanilla scent which I don't mind at all.  It isn't particularly longwearing and my lips do feel a bit dry after awhile but I like the rose nude shade a lot.  The inclusion of a lippie and the incredibly affordable price point makes this palette a winner in my book.  Have you tried any other NYX city palettes?
That's it for February!  I can't believe we are now into March as it snowed a few days ago.  I am already thinking about my Spring Capsule Wardrobe and can't wait to pack away my winter woollies and bring out lighter clothes.  What about you?  Are you experiencing cabin fever like me?

This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

LBH Weekly Roundup: Getting My Groceries Delivered and Shopping Online with Grocery Gateway

I have come to loathe shopping for groceries.  There I said it.  Ever since starting the day job which involves hours of sitting in rush hour traffic, any time for procuring groceries has evaporated like the morning mist.  Added to this time crunch was the fact that I could only buy as much as I could carry.  Even that was tough due to health issues.  A couple of full tote bags would cause pain that would last 24 hours and beyond.  However, with an invalid, disabled partner at home, there was no choice or so I thought.  Now, for the longest time, I used to laugh at people who ordered their groceries online.  What?  They couldn't be half arsed to go and get food that would keep them alive?  Well, I eat my words (notice the play on words?).  Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and began ordering my groceries from Grocery Gateway.  

The service is brilliant.  The delivery person will happily bring your order right into your kitchen or pantry.  No more schlepping to the grocery store, wandering the aisles in a daze and then heaving it all back.  You can choose various timeslots and what day you want your order delivered.  They will deliver up to 10pm and you can modify your order up to 11pm the night before delivery.  Yes, my grocery bill has gone up as I am buying what I need from one place instead of going to 2 or 3 different stores, chasing sales.  However, the benefits to my health and sanity are well worth it.  The terrible pains have disappeared and it is one stressful chore that has been eliminated.  I can't recommend it highly enough. This is not a sponsored post but if you leave your email address in the comments section, I can send you a referral email so that you will get $10 off your first order and so will I.

This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

LBH January Monthly Favourites: Shopping the Sales, J Crew, Banana Republic

Wow, I can't believe January is winding down. What with starting a new job and a partner who has been housebound for almost the entirety of January, the month has flashed by.  The new job caused a bit of a concern on the wardrobe front.  The thing with having a capsule wardrobe is that any gaps tend to make themselves glaringly known especially if one is starting an office job after a long while working from home.  Thank goodness for the January sales where it is possible to pick up much needed items at a good price.  Perhaps I should have titled this post, "How to Shop the Sales."  Believe me when I say that I have made many shopping mistakes in the past, lured by the low price tag.  Having a shopping list and knowing what looks good on me and what my style is has helped enormously in cutting down on costly mistakes.  Even if the price is cheap, if it is a mistake and you know that you will never wear it, then it is still money wasted. Top of my list was a pair of tailored trousers.  I picked up this basic pair of black wool tailored trousers at J Crew at 50% off.
via J Crew

You can't go wrong with a pair of straightforward tailored pants and they really are a staple item in any wardrobe.  
Next I picked up a gorgeous navy velvet skirt from Banana Republic.

via Banana Republic

What's not to love about navy velvet?  I am crushing hard on this addition to my wardrobe.  It can go from work to evening with ease and the velvet adds that bit of discreet glamour to what would otherwise be a standard pencil skirt. 

That's it for me.  Have you picked up anything in the January sales?

This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Last Minute Gifts: Crabtree and Evelyn Biscuits, NYX Wanderlust Palette

The minutes are counting down to the Big Day!  Are you done your Christmas shopping?  Perhaps you are like me, still frantically scurrying around the shops.  This week threw all my plans out of the window.  The washing machine sprung a leak, causing an almighty mess.  I figured that, if I was going to call in a repairman, I might as well knock out a couple of other pressing repair jobs at the same time.  Haha, big mistake.  The promise of "No worries, we'll blast through the repairs in an afternoon" turned into a 3 day marathon.  Herewith are a couple of emergency last minute gift ideas in case you are stuck having to visit your local 24 hour pharmacy (or worse a gas station that has a mini mart attached to it) because the inlaws decided to spring a dropin on you.
Delicious edibles are always a safe bet.  They are gender free and don't involve too much thinking because, at this point, with your brain on overload, too much thought is contraindicated.

The Crabtree & Evelyn shop in Toronto only brings out their biscuits at Christmas time.  Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that, in other parts of the world, their mouthwatering bikkies are available year round.  This year's Christmas special is their All Butter Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Biscuits.  The packaging is gorgeous, of course.
NYX came out with a selection of Wanderlust Palettes inspired by cities such as Copenhagen, Los Angeles, Paris, Madrid, London and Dubai.  I was really excited to pick up a few Toronto Palettes to give away but the colours were, in my opinion, astoundingly unwearable.  The lip creme was a dark gray/blue paired with gray eyeshadow.  I live in Toronto and have yet to encounter anyone wandering the streets in gray lipstick.  I suppose the intention was an edgy, goth vibe but it just isn't wearable on the regular unless you want to look like an extra off the set of "The Fifth Element."  I settled for Copenhagen which had a more on point selection of colours.

The lipcreme is a wearable nude and the eyeshadows, blush and highlighter remind me of Urban Decay's Heat Palette but at a price point that is a lot more bearable on the wallet.  Darn those Scandis!  Why do they get all the good stuff?

Wishing all of you a lovely Christmas!  Come and visit me on Instagram tomorrow @lheurebleuewithchloe for the last reveal of my Advent Calendar.

This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Target Advent Calendar, L'Occitane, Smashbox, Daniel et Daniel Macarons

December is well underway and we are steadily marching towards Christmas.  Advent calendars weren't part of my childhood which might explain my undying fascination with them.  Imagine having a surprise to open up every single day for 24 days, culminating in the BIG DAY?  Of course, brands have caught on that Advent calendars aren't just for children anymore and every year brings forth a slew of them ranging from the affordable to the money-no-object showstoppers.  The packaging is usually uniformly so pretty it seems a shame to consign them to the recycling bin.  So, I thought how fun it would be to have an Advent calendar that isn't disposable, becomes a family heirloom that gets brought out every year and which can be customized.  Here is a wooden one from Target.

The first few days revealed a mulled wine infused macaron from Daniel et Daniel, a Smashbox lipstick and a L'Occitane shea butter lip balm.

I have been vlogging the Advent Calendar reveals over on Instagram so click the blue button on the right to see me in action!  Follow me @lheurebleuewithchloe and say "Hi!"

This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Mindful Black Friday Sale Haul: Sephora, Tarte, Becca, Muji, J Crew, New Balance, Rockport Mary Jane Shoes

How did you make out with Black Friday?  I have never been one of those people who line up on the sidewalk at 2 am in the morning.  These days I usually utilize Black Friday to get my hands on Christmas pressies at a price that eases the strain on my wallet and to get replacements for things that have long since bid goodbye to their best before date.  I have a running list in my head of needs balanced with wants.  I hesitated on calling my buys a "haul" and settled on calling them a mindful or intentional haul (only slightly less cringeworthy!).  Did you stop in at Sephora?  I do love checking out the limited edition boxed sets that brands come out with specifically for Black Friday and the holidays.  I picked up this boxed set from Tarte.

You get a blush in Ornate which is a lovely coral that I know will suit me to a "T", a mini lipstick called Surf's Up which is a warm brown pink, and their Lights Camera Lashes mascara.  The set that I got last year had a full size lipstick and I do wish that this year's lipstick was also full size but for $13.00 it is a screaming deal so I can forgive the mini sized lipstick.
I picked up this set from Becca.  I have never tried anything from Becca so I am really looking forward to acquainting myself with the Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlight in Moonstone.

Becca's highlighters are known to be holy grail products so I was really pleased to pick this up for $20.00.
Next up, I think every beauty vlogger on the planet has stacks of Muji's acrylic storage cases sitting on her/his vanity.  Well, I am no beauty vlogger but I was growing tired of the mess on my table.  I have noticed that Muji's sales are far from being doorcrashers.  They are usually very sedate affairs but for this Black Friday, their acrylic storage line was 30% off.  Woot!

The long wide 3 drawer case was completely sold out so I had to settle for the smaller, 2 drawer case.  Now I know why this line is so popular.  The clear acrylic is so sleek and minimal and you can see at a glance what is inside and in which drawer.  Honestly, I could spend hours opening and closing the drawers.
Next, I have had a long standing love affair with Mary Janes in all its incarnations whether as a high heel, flat or wedge.  My old pair of wedge heeled Mary Janes were in a dire condition.  I tend to wear shoes until the straps and buckles are hanging by a thread, the leather is splitting apart and the soles are disintegrating.  Unless you have no choice, do not take frugality to the extreme like me.  I am worried that I have permanently broken my feet as a result.  So I was thrilled as anything to pick a new pair from Rockport.

What, Rockport, you say?  Gone are the days when I would make a beeline for the stilettos whenever there was a sale.  These days, the question in my mind is "Can I walk in them?"  Rockport has a line called Cobb Hill which is slightly dressier but still prioritizing comfort.  Hopefully, I am not in granny, orthopedic shoe territory just yet and these Mary Janes ride that comfortable yet pretty line just right.  The fact that they are riffing off Chie Mihara shoes but at a much more affordable price point doesn't hurt either.
Last but by no means least, are a pair of sneakers by New Balance for J. Crew.  The soles of my last pair of sneakers literally separated away from the shoe so a replacement was most definitely in order.

To be honest, I am still on the fence about these.  I love the crisp contrast between the navy and the white and the slight retro vibe.  But now I am wondering whether they are a bit too retro?  What do you think?  Yay or nay?
And that's it!  Let me know of your Black Friday scores and adventures!

This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Acqua Di Parma Holiday Gift Sets

The great thing about Autumnal birthdays is that one can take advantage of holiday gift sets that only appear in the shops at this time of year.  Monsieur had a birthday recently and I took the opportunity to pick up this gorgeous showstopper.

Monsieur does love his smellies and his number one favourite is Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza which strikes that magical balance between crisp citrus top notes and heady woody base notes.  Acqua di Parma don't release holiday sets of all their fragrances and, sadly, Acqua di Parma has not offered the gift set in Colonia Essenza for a couple of years now.  If Acqua di Parma is reading this, please bring that back next Christmas!   I had to settle for giving him the Colonia gift set instead (pictured above) which he deemed a close second with its notes of lavender, damask rose mingling with the citrus over a base of vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli.  I got it at Saks Fifth Avenue but it is also available at Holt Renfrew.  It is a great deal as the cologne bottle is the large 100 ml one and it comes with travel sizes of body creme and shower gel.  On its own, there is no doubt  that even the smallest 50 ml bottle will set you back a big chunk of coin so getting a large size and a couple of extras in a handsome presentation box helps ease the pain. 
Another Acqua di Parma holiday gift set is their Blu Mediterraneo.  This one has of orange, mandarin, and lemon essential oils over notes of petit grain, cardamon, caramel and musk.  This isn't one of Monsieur's 

favourites but fragrance is such a personal preference, you or someone you know might fall head over heels for it.
And we mustn't forget the ladies!  

They already had me with the packaging which is just so pretty.  This fragrance has Sicilian mandarin, Calabrian bergamot, and pepper, middle notes of peony, violet, lily of the valley, Italian centifolia rose, and finishes of cedar wood, ambergris and musk.
If like me, you have family members whose birthdays fall smartly right after Christmas, then you probably experience brain fry at the very thought of having to do more shopping.  And let's not forget that the dreaded Valentine's Day is just two months after Christmas.  Over the years, I have learnt to double up with my shopping especially if the gifts are unique items that disappear like snowflakes once the holidays are over.  And yes, of course, they make glorious Christmas gifts as well!

This is not a sponsored post.

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